Sunday, November 19, 2017
News Roundup

Romano — Man on the stage: Still supports Trump, still loves Amy Schumer

RECOMMENDED READING


From a distance, it looked like the man had second thoughts about outing himself as a Donald Trump supporter at Sunday's Amy Schumer show.

Sitting in Row 2 directly in front of the comedian's microphone, David Pettinato's arm kept going up and down as Schumer scoured the crowd for Trump fans.

But it wasn't a lack of faith or conviction that made Pettinato seem so indecisive.

It was his wife Dara, tugging his arm back down every time he tried to raise it up.

Schumer had already dismissed one potential volunteer because he was wearing a T-shirt. The unstated inference was she wanted someone of at least reasonable intelligence.

Pettinato, a Tampa attorney who had bought tickets to the show as a present for his wife, was among one of the last volunteers still willing to go through with the potential abuse even as his wife shouted no. Schumer pointed him out, and he headed to the stage.

"I started thinking, 'Oh my God, will I be able to make a coherent point?' '' Pettinato recalled.

• • •

His time in the spotlight was awkward and brief, but certainly notable. The New York Times, Vanity Fair, TMZ, the Washington Post, Billboard, Time, Breitbart.com and Britain's Daily Mail have all carried either stories or the grainy cellphone video of Pettinato's 90-second comedy debut.

Predictably enough, the incident has been hailed as a victory by both Trump and Hillary Clinton acolytes on social media. The Clinton people gleefully quote Schumer ridiculing the GOP candidate. Trump fans point out that 200 people in a crowd of more than 8,000 walked out when Schumer got political.

As for the man on the stage?

"I've got no hard feelings,'' Pettinato said. "She did what she needed to do for her comedy and for her beliefs. I'm not hurt, I'm not upset. She's very funny. She's cute. I know a lot of her comedy is self-deprecating, but I think she's a beautiful person.''

If you haven't seen the video, Schumer wanted a Trump voter to explain why they were supporting a candidate she clearly despises. For her purposes, Pettinato, 56, turned out to be the wrong choice.

Instead of praising Trump, he said his stance had more to do with opposing Clinton. Schumer tried to draw out more details on Trump, but abruptly dismissed Pettinato when he returned to Clinton.

"I appreciate that,'' Schumer said as Pettinato left the stage. "That was just cool to hear why one guy, who doesn't seem like a psychopath, might want to vote for that orange, sexual-assaulting, fake college-starting monster.''

Pettinato, who is a lifelong Republican but says he has voted Democrat in the last seven presidential elections, said it was clear Schumer was hoping for a rabid Trump fan she could poke fun at. His distaste for Clinton, he said, is based on her scrubbing of emails after a congressional subpoena.

"As an attorney, if I did that, I would be in jail today,'' he said.

Pettinato has since gotten calls from Trump supporters at his office, and his wife has gotten blowback from Clinton fans on Facebook. It's been a little more heated than he would prefer, but it's nothing he hasn't experienced before.

"I've got a 15-year-old daughter who yells at me when I'm listening to news radio in the car,'' he said. "She says, 'How can you even think about voting for Trump?' ''

As for Schumer, he says she's now his celebrity crush.

Much like Schumer talks about actor Bradley Cooper being her fake boyfriend after a chance encounter with him, Pettinato said Schumer is his new dream date.

"I have no regrets, it was an enjoyable experience,'' he said. "Amy is my Bradley Cooper.''

Comments

Stolen car crashes in St. Pete, leaving passenger, 15, with life threatening injuries

Two boys in a stolen car struck a dip in the roadway and crashed into a tree, leaving the 15-year-old passenger with life-threatening injuries, St. Petersburg police said.The crash occurred about 11:25 a.m. Sunday as the car sped west on 11th Avenue ...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Figures from FSU case enter latest allegation against Jameis Winston

Figures from FSU case enter latest allegation against Jameis Winston

MIAMI GARDENS — The case of Jameis Winston and a female Uber driver in Arizona took more twists Sunday, with Winston getting some level of corroboration, and his unnamed accuser retaining a familiar, high-profile attorney.Eagles cornerback Ronald Dar...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Country artist Mel Tillis, who traced success to Plant City youth, dead at 85

Country artist Mel Tillis, who traced success to Plant City youth, dead at 85

Before Mel Tillis achieved stardom, writing songs recorded by hundreds of Nashville artists and embracing the stutter that became his trademark, he was a young man fresh out of the Air Force struggling to land a spot in a Plant City talent show.Eyes ...
Updated: 11 minutes ago

Report: Florida rarely punishes doctors sued for malpractice

FORT LAUDERDALE — Florida doctors are rarely punished by state regulators even after they are sued for malpractice, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Sunday. The Florida Department of Health reviewed nearly 24,000 resolved state and federal law...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

Associated PressThe latest group of U.S. Rhodes scholars includes 10 African-Americans — the most ever in a single Rhodes class — as well as a transgender man and four students from colleges that had never had received the honor before. The Rhodes Tr...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Updated: 1 hour ago
As clock ticks on tax bill, White House signals a compromise

As clock ticks on tax bill, White House signals a compromise

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, said Sunday that the White House is willing to remove a contentious provision taking aim at the Affordable Care Act from the GOP tax overhaul plan if politically necessary, a move ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Search suspended for missing Cortez boater who left from Egmont Key

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for a missing 63-year-old boater on Sunday evening, two days after he and his dog were reported missing 5 miles northwest of Mead Point, just inland from Anna Maria Island.On Friday, Fraser Horne of Cortez le...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Many Christian conservatives are backing Alabama’s Roy Moore

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Alabama’s Christian conservatives see Roy Moore as their champion. He has battled federal judges and castigated liberals, big government, gun control, Muslims, homosexuality and anything else that doesn’t fit the evangelical mold. ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Two months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico struggles to regain electricity, thousands flee

Two months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico struggles to regain electricity, thousands flee

Los Angeles Times (TNS)ANASCO, Puerto Rico — The lights remain off in bustling cities and in small rural villages. Gas generators, the only alternative to the downed power lines that seem to be everywhere, continuously hum outside hospitals and bodeg...
Updated: 2 hours ago